RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Feb 23rd, 2009

230209.jpgTODAY: Anti-Kremlin protest in Moscow draws ‘several hundred’; Medvedev criticizes the speed of government’s anti-crisis measures. US to take Russian concerns into account on missile defense; China deems Russia’s actions ‘unacceptable’ over sunken ship; Politkovskaya case reopened.

Dmitry Medvedev has chastised the speed of his government in taking measures to deal with the economic crisis. ‘We are working very slowly, which is unacceptable in a period of crisis,’ he said, with many companies not due to receive state assistance until the third quarter. ‘This isn’t a macroeconomic problem or a consequence of the difficulties faced by the world financial system. This is simply our inability to work swiftly and efficiently.’  A sanctioned and ‘tightly-policed’ anti-Kremlin rally in Moscow over the weekend gathered ‘a few hundred’ demonstrators.  Opposition group The Other Russia reported that ‘a pro-Kremlin activist was detained when he climbed on a tramway stop and threw leaflets.  As the activists were detained, the crowd chanted “the militsiya is with the people!”‘

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates says that Russia’s concerns will be taken into account as the Obama administration reviews its missile defense plans.  Russia says its regrets the death of eight Chinese and Indonesian sailors whose ship sank after being fired on by a Russian warship, but blames the captain of the sunken vessel for ‘deliberately violating the law’ by crossing into Russian territory.  A Chinese Foreign Ministry official said Russia’s actions were an unacceptable response.  Russia’s deputy defense minister says 64 servicemen died during the Georgian war.

The case of Anna Politkovskaya’s murder was reopened after last week’s acquittals of all three previous suspects.  Irina Filatova says the decision is unlikely to lead to a proper investigation.  On the ten people remaining in Russia’s far north village of Yor Shor, abandoned by its former inhabitants for warmer climates in the south.  Highway robbery in South Moscow?  One of the few relationships between Russia and Britain that seems to be flourishing is in the arts.

PHOTO: Police officers detain an activist from the Young Russia pro-Kremlin youth group for interrupting a sanctioned opposition rally in Moscow, Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)